KAMLOOPS - For first responders and soldiers dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder a ranch near Kamloops will soon provide refuge.
The Hacienda Caballo ranch near Heffley Creek will be a retreat with treatment for people who suffer from the disorder. Called Honour Ranch, it will provide a free, safe place to help recover, says Honour House society president Allan De Genova.
“They really need the help and they’re not getting the help they need,” De Genova says.
Honour Ranch follows Honour House in Vancouver, which opened in November 2010, as a place for first responders and members of Canadian Forces to stay while getting medical help.
Around 14 months ago Rick Walness of Hacienda Caballo reached out to the Honour House Society and offered his ranch.
“He was seriously injured a couple years ago,” De Genova says. “Paramedics took care of him.”
Since Walness was looking for a way to give back and De Genova knew of the need in the province for a safe, stigma-free space for people with PTSD to work on recovering, the Honour Ranch idea was developed.
Plans are still being developed and rolled out, but the doors opened Saturday, Oct. 22. By February, treatment programs will be set up for those seeking them, with a doctor on site when needed. While treatment with health professionals will be an option, the ranch will provide a safe space to get away to if that’s all that’s needed.
“They can stay as long as they feel they need,” De Genova says.
The ranch can accommodate up to 20 people at a time, and people will be able to bring their family while at the ranch.
A big concern for him is the number of people who’ve worked as soldiers, paramedics or in related fields who’ve served the country and are being let down, he says. Part of the inspiration came from a paramedic in the Yukon he met, who was doing therapy online and had no place to get well.
“All our frontline people that keep us safe everyday,” he says. “The trauma they see, that’s why the suicide rate is so high.”
The ranch is the first of its kind in the province, De Genova says, adding while similar sites exist elsewhere in the country they don’t meet the need in B.C.
Funding for the Honour Ranch comes from donations and fundraisers.
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